Attempting to manhandle a USAC All Pro SpeedSTR for 75 laps – while dicing for position with 25 other throttle-jockeys – can be an intimidating chore. But the long distance of the Dick Tobias Classic has proven to be no problem for Billy Pauch Jr.
The Milford, NJ ace won his third consecutive Tobias Classic on Sunday night at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds. “The Kid’s Kid” also captured the 75-lapper, worth $5,000 each time, in 2015 and on May 14 of this year (the event was run twice in ’17 after it was rained out last season). With Sunday’s victory, Pauch Jr. pushed this year’s SpeedSTR win total to three, and his division-leading career total to 12. He also cut into Tim Buckwalter’s point lead with just one SpeedSTR event remaining on the Action Track USA schedule (on Wednesday, August 16).
Buckwalter notched his third triumph of the season in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main, and Dylan Hoch recorded his second victory of the year in the 20-lap feature for the All Star Slingshots.
The next race on the Action Track USA docket is set for Tuesday, August 15, when the All Star Slingshots take part in the second annual Super Slingshot Fair National that will pay $2,000 to the winner of the 55-lap main event. That race kicks off National Dirt Week at the Kutztown Fair, and it will be followed by another huge race on Wednesday the 16th. The Hyper Racing 600 Sprints compete in their Fair Week National, a 60-lapper that will also offer the winner a $2,000 payday (with Gambler’s Fee). Joining the 600’s on the 16th will be the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs and the All Star Slinghshots in the Troy Moyer Memorial. Wednesday’s event also serves as the final point race for 2017 at the oval on the Kutztown Fairgrounds. Thursday, August 17th, could be termed “Kids Night” as the superstars of the future compete in Quarter-Midget action and the Junior Slingshots take part in a pair of feature races, with one of them being a National Tour event. Saturday, August 19, brings down the curtain on the Action Track USA season with the running of the Daniel Boone 100 Stock Car Race. All of the info regarding the racing during National Dirt Week can be found on the speedway’s website: www.actiontrackusa.com.
Sunday’s B-Main for the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs looked almost like an A-Main, as both Pauch Jr. and Tim Buckwalter, who are first and second in points, were forced to run the last chance qualifier along with Mike Bednar, Dylan Hoch, and Matt Janisch. They all made it into the 75-lap Dick Tobias Classic, but were mired deep in the pack as the main event went green. Pauch started 18th, with Buckwalter lined up in 20th position.
The first 17 circuits spun off without a caution as Briggs Danner gassed his No. 78 into the top spot over pole sitter Kenny Brightbill. Steve Drevicki moved up to trade slide jobs with Brightbill in a duel for the runner-up position as the race moved toward the mandatory lap-40 caution and pit stop. With Danner cruising out front, the large crowd focused on the progress of Pauch Jr. and T. Buckwalter, along with Bednar, as all three steadily and methodically picked their way through heavy traffic. Pauch motored into fifth on the 30th trip around the clay.
At the break with 40 tours in the books, the top five included Danner, Drevicki, K. Brightbill, Pauch Jr., and Tom Mayberry. Tim Buckwalter was seventh, right behind Jeff Hartman.
As the final 35 laps began, Pauch ducked under Drevicki to snare the runner-up spot on the 41st revolution. T. Buckwalter spun off the homestretch and into the infield with 43 complete, forcing him to restart in the rear.
On lap 46, Pauch muscled his way past Danner to take command and nine circuits later, Danner slowed with problems while still in second. He was able to restart at the back of the pack.
With 12 to go and Pauch in control, attention turned to Matt Westfall, the Flying Buckeye from Ohio, and 23rd starter Matt Janisch, who both entered the top five. Bednar was in their tire tracks, too, and Tim Buckwalter charged from the rear to run sixth as lap 63 was scored.
Bednar got by Westfall and Brightbill to run second, but only for approximately half-a-lap, as Westfall powered past him in turn two with ten revolutions left to run. Buckwalter continued his charge to the front, disposing of Brightbill with five to go, then slipping past Bednar for third place on a restart with two trips remaining.
Westfall gave it his best shot on the final lap, looking to the outside of Pauch, then darting to the bottom as they drag raced off turn four and headed for the checkered flag. Pauch held him off by 0.109-seconds to register his third straight win in the 75-lap Tobias Classic. Tim Buckwalter rebounded nicely to finish third ahead of 19th starter Mike Bednar, and Kenny Brightbill ran among the top five all race long, ending up with a fifth place paycheck.